“If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride.” - J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15
I have often questioned why I study theology. Is it a noble quest for knowledge of the God who died for me, or is it the ignoble feeding of my overblown ego? Or is it a little of both?
I have thought of several good reasons I have to study theology. I want to know God better. I want to follow God’s will for my life more closely and be a moral person. I want to be better able to communicate the truth to others that I come in contact with. I want to be able to answer legitimate questions from myself or others.
There are some bad reasons as well. I want to show others how smart I am. I want to be able to one-up those who disagree with me. I am truly a mixed bag of motives in everything I do.
The ultimate reason why I study theology is that my own mixed motives and sins make me desperate to know of God’s love for me. I must have something outside of me to help, if I am going to be helped at all. I need Christ’s sacrifice freely given for me and His life fully lived for me. I need to better understand His payment for my sins and His provision for my righteousness. He is my only hope.